link rel = "image_src” href=”preview-image-here.jpg” / expr:content='data:blog.metaDescription' link rel = "image_src” href=”preview-image-here.jpg” / expr:content='data:blog.metaDescription' Sukanya's musings: MASALA VADAI / PARIPPU VADAI / DAL VADA

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Masala Vadais are a delight to the palette with a riot of flavors exploding in your mouth.

In the yesteryear's we used to enjoy our long journey train travels from Mumbai to Chennai passing via different stations and tasting the flavors of the snacks made by the different states.
Tam brahms, don't usually add Onions or garlic to their snacks, but while we were travelling by train from Mumbai to Tirupati, I remember Appa purchased these lovely Masala Vadais at Renigunta station, they were so full of flavors, unlike the simple Aama vadais / Parippu vadais made at home. 
The Vadais were warm, packed in a Banana leaf further covered with a newspaper. Inside the banana leaf there was a smaller banana leaf wrap with thick chutney inside, packed carefully so as to not make the vadai soggy. The Vadai and chutney were so yummy and we relished it so much that we wanted to buy more; but the train started to move, looking at our eagerness to buy, the vendor came running and passed us a packet and my father gave him money and asked him to keep the change, the boy was so happy. 
Life back then was simple and we were so happy in the simple things. 
Coming to the present, It was a rainy day and I had cravings for something fried, so I decided to make these Masala vadais.
I have prepared the Parippu Vadai many times following my mom's recipe, It has the dals mentioned in the below ingredients in the same proportion and the green chillies, red chillies, asafetida, curry leaves and salt. It is ground coarse but slightly more finer than the below masala vadai. I prepare Parippu vadai for festivals and grind a bit more and add the remaining ingredients the next day to prepare the Masala vadai, since we don't eat onions on festival days.
Yo (my dear hubby) prefers the Masala vadai though, it’s just another version of the Parippu Vadai, except for the burst of flavour with the added ingredients. 
The vadai batter remains the same but is enhanced further with the other ingredients mainly the onions, ginger, fennel & cumin. 
Yo(my husband) says it spicier, crispier and tastier. 
I pat it a little flatter, that gives me crispier vadais. 
Here’s the recipe for the Masala Vadai and you can also try the Parippu vadai minus the other ingredients mentioned below. 
I will share the recipe of the Aama Vadai soon....

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Toor Dal – 1 cup
Udad dal – ½ cup
Chana dal- ½ cup
Green Chillies – 2
Dry Red chillies -2
Ginger – a small piece (optional)
Chopped Onion - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds (Saunf) – 2tsps
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Mix all the dals and rinse well. Soak for about 2-3 hours. Drain water from the soaked dal. Grind the soaked dals, green chillies, red chillies, ginger with salt and asafetida in a mixer. Grind it coarsely, Don’t add much water, If too much water is added the mixture will be too soggy and absorb too much oil while frying.
Now add the chopped onions, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, grated coconut, curry leaves (break one or 2 leaves into halves for extra flavor), and chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Check for salt, if less, add some while mixing.
Keep for about half an hour aside so that the spices soak in.

Heat the oil in a wok (kadhai). Wet your left palm, with your right hand make a small golf size ball and pat it on your left palm into a vada and drop it slowly into the hot oil. Put the flattened balls of the dough into the hot oil one by one.
Deep fry till golden brown.
Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.

  • Soak the fennel seeds in some water for about 15 minutes , rinse out the water and add the bloated fennel seeds to the coarsely prepared vada mixture.
  • You can prepare the batter in the morning and keep it refrigerated and make the vadas the evening. This will allow the spices to soak in and result in tastier vadas. The reason we are refrigerating it is because onions tend to make the batter soggy, so keeping it outside may make the onions sweat in the batter resulting in a soggy batter and oily vadas.

  • If the vadas are remaining, add them to sambhar and you have tasty sambhar vadas, the next day. 
  • If use the Vadai mixture that comes out of the blender and make Vadai. It is Parippu Vadai/ Dal Vadai
  • You can use garlic in the above recipe as well. 3-4 pods chopped fine or pounded to a fine paste added to the vadai mixture.
  • You can add fresh mint leaves too. Mint gives a good fresh flavour to the vadai. Incase using mint leaves. Take a cup full of freshly chopped mint leaves and add to the vadai mixture.
  • You can add Cinnamon to the vadai too. If you are adding, dry roast 1 cinnamon stick and grind it along with the vadai mixture. 
  • Any of the above ingredients can be added or deleted depending on your taste


  1. Liked the vadas Sukanya. My mom makes a healthier version of the same batter. She stuufs them in a rice flour roti/covering and steams them in a cooker. It is tasty to eat with chutney.
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  2. Ay Sukanya.. My life-partner (Sarah) is a great fan of your recipes and tips!

    Write me sometime... remember me from the old mail fights at Iyer123 group?? Lets catch up sometime.


  3. dear sukanya, saw your detailed blog..good you have started this in right earnest..will try some of the recipe on sundays...thanks narayanan from chennai


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